Sunday, January 27, 2008
Michelle's Welsh Oat Bread
1 cup water
1 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk, warmed
2 scant tsp salt
1 cup white whole wheat
4-5 cups white flour
vinegar and water in a spray bottle
Bring one cup water to a boil. Pour over the oats in mixing bowl. While the oats cool to lukewarm, proof the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm water to which you've added the sugar. Add the yeast mixture, the warm milk, salt and whole wheat flour to the cooled oats. Mix well. Add the white flour until a firm dough forms. (I do this in my KitchenAid.) Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and yields under your hands. Put the dough in buttered bowl, turn to coat. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Punch the dough down, knead for a couple of minutes. Form into two loaves, place in buttered pans (I used a 10" loaf pan). Let rise in a warm place until doubled. Spray the tops of the loaves lightly with the vinegar and water mixture. Bake at 400F until the bottoms of the loaves sound hollow when tapped (about 35 to 40 minutes).
I'm pleased with the result. It was amazing toasted with butter for dinner tonight!
If you try it, let me know what you think!
I'm upstairs fetching a fresh tablecloth when I hear the plaint. "Let me in!" Sighing, I head for the bathroom window. Surprise, no cat to be seen. I check the front door. The side door. The basement. The garage. Now I'm sure I was hearing things. I tuck the kids in, and go back up to get my glasses.
Window? No. Door? No. OK - I'm starting to worry. I go back upstairs and listen. I follow the meows. Ah-hah! Fluffy is in Math Man's dresser drawer. Last open? This afternoon around 3 when Math Man was getting out a shirt. Six hours she's been in the drawer. How many of them do you think she spent sleeping?
Friday, January 25, 2008
I offered to share the sofa, and we ended up cuddled up together checking out Dr. Seuss' other cartoons (his political cartoons and his advertising cartoons, I had been unaware of the former until Crash pointed them out to me). Then we dove into the blog. He chuckled over Spite Balls and thought the recipes for his parents were spot on. "Can we make my recipe?" We can. And did.
The Recipe For Crash
3 parts Imagination
2 parts Superiority
1 part Sensitivity
Splash of Pride
I spent the first 5 hours in blissful silence -and surprisingly even singing for the noon liturgy did not break the resulting stillness. The pianist and I practiced each song once, speaking softly and only the few words necessary.
I saw a half dozen cardinals (of the bird sort, not the ecclesial sort) on a morning walk, listened to the wind rustle the winter leaves in the afternoon.
I woke this morning before dawn and sat in the small chapel, at the very top of the hill, and watched the light morph from rose to amber to soft white.
In the middle of it all, I did stop by the computer in the small parlor and check my email -- and make a Scrabble move in my game against Cathy! [OK, I confess...I went twice.] The second time there was a sign on the computer saying "Please don't turn this computer off." Signed God. God, S.J.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
piscina, piscina. fish pond, fish pond
puella, puella. girl, girl....
I'm getting sleepy, are you?
Subliminal comes, of course, from the Latin sub (below) and limen (lintel). Crash has his subliminal machine tucked under his bed - should the title of this post be subcubilum instead?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
"So, I know what you do when you get up with a baby. Change the diaper, feed her, pat her, rock her...what do you do with a big kid?"
"Well, I start by asking what's wrong, but seriously, my next question is always: Are you going to throw up?"
For the record: no one threw up. I got Crash water and the Boy his inhaler. No one but me remembered it in the morning. I'm pretty sure it actually happened.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I am firmly informed it's spike balls that are being thrown. Personally, I think I was right the first time.
Friday, January 18, 2008
What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why?
Mary Oliver's Thirst. Two poems in particular from that collection have stuck with me. The first lines of Six Recongnitions of Our Lord:
I know a lot of fancy words.and of Heavy:
I tear them from my heart and my tongue.
Then I pray.
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
I went closer,
and I did not die.
What is one of your favorite childhood books?
I may regret admitting this in public, but The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I first read it in a frigid Illinois winter, where I was walking to school thinking of the little girl walking in the snow with no shoes. And the marvelous comeuppance that comes the way of Miss Minchkin.
Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell!
The psalms are in my very bones.
What is one book you could read again and again?
The Psalms. :-) My comfort reading actually moves around, right now when I need something predictably soothing and humorous, I tend to pick up something in Lois Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series (A Civil Campaign is on my bedside table at the moment). They make me laugh and remind me of my brothers (and their well meaning, but somewhat quirky senses of humor).
Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?
The Psalms. :-) Sorry, I couldn't resist. St. Benedict's Toolbox: The Nuts And Bolts Of Everyday Benedictine Living by Jane Tomaine, an Episcopal priest. The book grew out of her work in her parish and her doctoral dissertation, so it's grounded well in pastoral practice, tradition and prayer. Looking for a Lenten discipline? The focus is on how we can answer the calls to obedience, hospitality, stability and conversion of life outside the monastic enclosure. I gave it to my brother a couple of years ago when he was in the last stages of joining the Episcopal Church and asked me for something that would offer practical advice on living out God's call to us in our everyday lives. He chose to say the short version of Morning Prayer that is included - still does as far as I know. I won't reveal precisely where he says it, but it's one of the few places that a parent of young boys can find privacy in the morning!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Oddest things in my bag: a clementine (I ate it)
Heaviest item: breviary
Lightest item: paperclip (ok, there were 10 paperclips in there?)
Least useful item: lipstick (can't remember when last I used it)
Most useful item: Moleskin with everything in it from my agenda to important phone numbers to notes for writing
And I had 4 pairs of glasses in there? What's the oddest thing you carry around?
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Crash and Barnacle Boy were discussing the finer points of being an altar server at dinner the other night, based on Crash's vast experience (six weeks and counting). Turns out being behind the scenes you find out more than you might want to know.
"Did you know that the water for the blessings just comes right from the tap? It's just regular water that the guy [ed: that's a direct quote, can you tell we're Roman Catholic?] blesses!" Crash declared incredulously. The Boy doesn't quite believe him. "It's true," I threw in. "The water for the baptismal font, too. The only difference for the font is that if we are baptizing a baby, we use warm tap water." "You mean I was baptized with tap water?" "Uh-huh!" I'm certain he was scandalized. I'm not quite sure what he was expecting us to use, and now I wished I'd asked. Water from the Jordan, imported in bottles? Vatican blend? A spring in the sacristy?If I put on my sacramental theologian and catechist hats, this raises a couple of interesting questions. Should we warm the water, what sacramental message are we sending? What do my kids understand about blessings and sacramentals?
Friday, January 11, 2008
1. When is your birthday? Does anyone else (famous and/or in your own life) share it?
My birthday is April 12. My brother, Geek Guru, was born two years and two days later, so we don't quite share, but there's was definite "birthday" feel to mid-April when I was growing up. This year is a "decade" year in my family. Someone will turn 10, 20, 40, 50, 60, 80 and 90. I would be the median age in the list!
2. Do you prefer a big party or an intimate celebration for the chosen few?
A nice dinner with a few friends.
3. Describe your most memorable birthday(s)--good, bad, or both.
My 2nd birthday is my first vivid memory that I can date. I can see all the people walking up the steps of the house we lived in in Naperville, some carrying gifts. My birthday had been a few days before, and I thought I was getting another party. Actually, what I was getting was a new baby brother. I'm sure I'd been told that, but since in those days kids didn't even see their sibs through nursery windows, I suspect I didn't have a great grasp on the concept. I was seriously dissappointed. Probably grounds for years of therapy!
A gorilla bearing champagne appeared in my office on my 30th birthday. I wouldn't come out into the hall, where colleagues and students were gathered, so the gorilla picked me up and carried me out. I was blushing!
My 40th birthday was also Easter Sunday - a first in my lifetime. (Three times when I was a kid, my birthday fell on Good Friday - a day of fast. If you do the math in 1., you realize that my brother's birthday in those years fell on Easter - jealous, me?? Nah!) I was totally distracted from the turning 40 bit by a horrific case of pink-eye I had (courtesy of my students, it was epidemic on local campuses that spring).
4. What is your favorite cake and ice cream? (Bonus points if you share the cake recipe). Or would you rather have a different treat altogether?
Oh...Rainbow Cake. Make an angel food cake (or use a mix!). Take 1/2 the batter, divide into several small bowls and using food coloring, tint the batter various shades. Spoon the untinted batter and the tinted batter into a tube pan, making random patterns. When cut, the cake will have a festive splatter of shades. Here's a link to a more elaborate version (I like the little packages on top, though!).
5. Surprise parties: love 'em or hate 'em?
I've never had one - so I'll withhold judgement! But I definitely enjoy little surprises..the year I turned 38, I was expecting Barnacle Boy and had gestational diabetes - no cake for me. A friend appeared in my class, bearing a colorful plate of Jello-Jigglers -all sugar free, so I could celebrate!
Bonus: Describe your ideal birthday--the sky's the limit.
A beautiful spring day with a walk. Rainbow cake. A really rare steak.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I'd been down in the laundry this morning and noticed that Math Man had carefully hung up a huge collection of our outdoor gear to dry. What really caught my eye, however, was the large light pink athletic sock on the rack by the dehumidifier...and the pink gaiter and... A red fleece item had been washed with whites, and the results were predictable. It ran.
Math Man blushed (though he hadn't noticed the pink sock, just the now-pink gaiter). "Remember the year of the blue turtlenecks?" When we were first married, Math Man had washed jeans with his socks and underwear and all my white cotton turtlenecks (still a staple in my winter wardrobe). His theory was that he didn't want to do an extra load of wash, and didn't care what color his underwear was. Alas, I did care what color my turtlenecks were, so the theory should not have been extended to cover them. They were all now a pale shade of something I could only describe as Virgin Mary Blue. I lived a year with them, the budget wouldn't stretch to replacements. He proudly noted that this time my turtlenecks were not in the load. "You're learning!" "I'm in the zone of proximal development," he shot back.
The Boy now thinks his parents have lost it entirely (he may think that all the time, but I'm afraid to ask). "What's the zone of proximal development?" Math Man, having spent 5 years as a PI of a huge grant for math-science teaching, told him it's when you know enough not to be frustrated and not enough to be bored. Or when you know enough to separate the colors from your wife's whites.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The Gender Genie claims to be able to discriminate between male and female writing. The algorithm tracks the occurrences of key words. Among its underlying assumptions are that women are more likely to use pronouns and a particular set of noun modifiers than are men. The male style tends more toward the "informational" while women's styles are more likely to center on how information is embedded in context and connections between information. As the authors succinctly put it, women's writing resembles fiction (even when writing non-fiction) and men's non-fiction.
What does Gender Genie think of my writing? It asks for samples of more than 500 words. I fed it a couple of longer entries from this blog (here and here), an op-ed I wrote and I come up male every time. I wonder if I write this way because I'm a scientist or am a scientist because I write this way?
Monday, January 07, 2008
"Did I eat the other half of my English muffin?" comes the puzzled inquiry across the table.
"You must have, it's not on your plate," I replied muzzily over my cup of tea.
[Scene 2: the next day]
"Mom, what did I just step on?" wonders Crash. I peek under the table. Crash's foot is firmly planted on top of half an English muffin smothered in Welch's Grape Jelly. No dear, you didn't eat that muffin after all.
And can anyone tell me why I'm supposed to know what's happening to other people's muffins and feet?
Sunday, January 06, 2008
|The Recipe For Michelle|
3 parts Glamour
2 parts Wit
1 part Rebellion
Splash of Ambition
Finish off with an olive
On the other hand, I think they got Math Man spot on:
|The Recipe For Math Man|
3 parts Delight
2 parts Cleverness
1 part Impishness
Splash of Imagination
Finish off with whipped cream
Kathryn tried it, too. She sounds more like herself!
Friday, January 04, 2008
Watch out for descending tubers!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
We ended up taking a 45 minute hike through the field, down to the still flowing creek and around the old summer camp house. Only one set of prints to be seen out there besides ours. Even the animals are hunkered down for the duration.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
But I'd do it again...